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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Game Preview: Minesota Vikings (3-2) @ Detroit Lions (1-5)

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Jake Hirschmann
Jacob is currently a senior at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio with the hopes of persuing sports journalism as a career.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 P.M. ET

Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan

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Weather Forecast: Indoor Stadium

TV: FOX
Talent:  Chris Myers (play-by-play), Ronde Barber (color commentary),

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LOCAL RADIO: WXYT-FM 97.1
Talent: Dan Miller (play-by-play), Jim Brandstatter (color commentary), Tony Ortiz (sideline)

Line: Minnesota by 2.5

All-time series: Detroit trails 29-68-1

Injury Report

Detroit:

Lions Injury Status
LB DeAndre Levy Hip Out
TE Brandon Pettigrew Knee Out
CB Josh Wilson Brain Questionable
RB Joique Bell Achilles Probable
S James Ihedigbo Quad Probable
LB Josh Bynes Hip Probable
TE Eric Ebron Knee Probable
WR Calvin Johnson Ankle Probable
DE Jason Jones Neck Probable
P Sam Martin Knee Probable
DT Haloti Ngata Calf Probable
RB Theo Riddick Groin Probable
WR Golden Tate Ankle Probable
LB Tahir Whitehead Shoulder Probable
Minnesota: 
Player Position Injury Status
Everson Griffen FROM Illness Probable
Sharrif Floyd DT Knee/Ankle OUT
Justin Trattou FROM Foor OUT
Terence Newman CB Ankle Probable
TJ Clemmings T Knee Probable
Matt Asiata RB Rib Probable
Adrian Peterson RB Finger/Illness Questionable
Jarius Wright WR Hand  Probable
Charles Johnson WR Rib Probable
Captain Munnerlyn CB Thumb Probable

What to watch for

  • Which running back will show up? – Joique Bell, Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick all look to be in line to get some assortment of carries this week. The real question is, will any of them produce? Bell is returning from another injury and has looked nothing like what Lions fans expected coming into the year. Abdullah has shown flashes of brilliance, but his continuing trouble with holding on to the ball has already caused him to be benched multiple times this season. Riddick has arguably been Detroit’s most consistent back this season, but we are yet to see if he can truly carry the load of a No. 1 back. With it looking like all three could be on the field Sunday, it’ll be interesting to see which running back the coaching staff puts most of their trust in.
  • Is the offense we saw against the Bears for real? – The offensive performance the Lions displayed last week against the Chicago Bears was what Lions fans had been waiting for all year. Matthew Stafford was taking shots down the field, Calvin Johnson was making big time plays and, most importantly, Detroit wasn’t playing conservatively. It was just one game, though, so we will have to wait and see if the same type of gameplan is drawn up for Sunday’s matchup with the Vikings. It’s not a coincidence that the first game of the year the playbook seems to open up, the Lions come way with their first victory. And honestly, if not for the two muffed punts, Detroit’s win over Chicago would have been much more comfortable.
  • Can this be the breakout game the secondary needs? – While Detroit did get the win last week, the secondary did not look a good as many would have hoped. During the biggest drive of the game at the end of regulation, three deep passes to Chicago’s No. 1 WR, Alshon Jeffery, resulted in two pass interference calls and one long reception to set up a game-tying field goal. Luckily for the Lions, this week is a much friendlier matchup. Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater has only thrown three TD passes so far this season and is anything but a gun-slinger. Darius Slay and Rashean Mathis will have their work cut out for them today, and if there were ever a matchup that could turn their season around, this would be it.

Prediction: Lions 35 Vikings 25

Detroit will build off of their strong performance last week, open up the offense once again, and score points in bunches against Minnesota’s defense. The Lions have never really had an answer to stop Adrian Peterson, and I don’t expect that to change this week, but a big performance from the secondary will allow Detroit to survive even with Peterson racking up a couple scores. Another 150 yard day from Calvin Johnson will seal a second straight victory for the Lions before they head off to London.

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